SIRT6 is a key regulator of mitochondrial function in the brain

Dmitrii Smirnov, Ekaterina Eremenko, Daniel Stein, Shai Kaluski, Weronika Jasinska, Claudia Cosentino, Barbara Martinez-Pastor, Yariv Brotman, Raul Mostoslavsky, Ekaterina Khrameeva, Debra Toiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The SIRT6 deacetylase has been implicated in DNA repair, telomere maintenance, glucose and lipid metabolism and, importantly, it has critical roles in the brain ranging from its development to neurodegeneration. Here, we combined transcriptomics and metabolomics approaches to characterize the functions of SIRT6 in mouse brains. Our analysis reveals that SIRT6 is a central regulator of mitochondrial activity in the brain. SIRT6 deficiency in the brain leads to mitochondrial deficiency with a global downregulation of mitochondria-related genes and pronounced changes in metabolite content. We suggest that SIRT6 affects mitochondrial functions through its interaction with the transcription factor YY1 that, together, regulate mitochondrial gene expression. Moreover, SIRT6 target genes include SIRT3 and SIRT4, which are significantly downregulated in SIRT6-deficient brains. Our results demonstrate that the lack of SIRT6 leads to decreased mitochondrial gene expression and metabolomic changes of TCA cycle byproducts, including increased ROS production, reduced mitochondrial number, and impaired membrane potential that can be partially rescued by restoring SIRT3 and SIRT4 levels. Importantly, the changes we observed in SIRT6-deficient brains are also occurring in aging human brains and particularly in patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease. Overall, our results suggest that the reduced levels of SIRT6 in the aging brain and neurodegeneration initiate mitochondrial dysfunction by altering gene expression, ROS production, and mitochondrial decay.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


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